Matthew Bellof is the Program Coordinator and an advisor for the Program in Criminal Justice. He earned his M.A. degree in Child Study and Human Development from Tufts University in 2009, and his B.A. degree in Psychology and in Child Study and Human Development also from Tufts University in 2007. Matthew comes to Rutgers with six years of experience working inside inclusive classrooms ranging from preschool to elementary school to high school to the university level, where he had responsibilities as a teacher, counselor, supervisor, and an administrator. Many of his experiences have involved inclusion and diversity training, working with students—and families—of all ages from diverse backgrounds and a wide range of special needs, public speaking, counseling, community outreach, event programming, and student services.
Matthew first found his love of working in higher education administration when he worked on the program staff and committee for Tufts University’s Freshman Orientation Program as an undergraduate, coordinating and supervising a week-long orientation of events for 1,200 students. He also avidly volunteered for many years with the Admissions Office at Tufts working as a greeter in the office and participating in the annual April Open House for admitted students, as well as serving as the unofficial liaison for prospective students with special needs. He continues to be involved with admissions as a volunteer interviewer for the Tufts Alumni Admissions Program. As a graduate student, Matthew took on the role of serving as a Teaching Assistant for Child Development faculty at Tufts University for undergraduate child development courses, which cemented his desire to break into the higher education administration field.
Working with minority/underrepresented populations, including the special needs population, and traveling abroad are passions of Matthew. His research almost always focused on individuals with special needs, particularly the Deaf and hard of hearing population. He interned with Outdoor Explorations, a non-profit organization that provides outdoor adventures accommodated for individuals with special needs, where he worked on revising disability policies and coordinating event programming; furthermore, as a graduate student Matthew interned at Children’s Hospital, Boston in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program, where he revitalized the parent support group program. He has been asked to give presentations to many classes on campus at Tufts, and has been an invited guest lecturer for several years in an undergraduate child development course titled Children with Special Needs where he lectures about deafness and the Deaf community.
A love of travel sent Matthew to study abroad in 2006 in Beijing, China on an intensive Mandarin language learning and cultural immersion experience where he traveled throughout Beijing and various parts of China, lived with a Chinese roommate, and participated in many trips to local elementary schools. He also studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2006 and attended the Denmark International Studies Program with a focus on Children with Special Needs. Matthew had the unique opportunity to design an internship where he created and taught an American Sign Language course to 3 classes at a local Danish Deaf and hard-of-hearing middle school and high school.
Matthew also actively volunteered at Tufts University’s LGBT Center while an undergraduate. He was a member of the Team-Q speaking panel, in which the panel presented to various audiences to educate and promote gender and sexuality awareness. Matthew was also a team leader for the Safe Colleges Conference in 2007: the Conference attracts 1,000+ individuals from the entire New England area, and its purpose is to unite Allies and the LGBTQ community to share experiences, promote awareness, to educate students, faculty, and administrators of LGBTQ issues, battle stereotypes, and ultimately, promote a safe college environment.
As a senior, Matthew’s experiences and activism earned him the Multicultural Service Award in 2007 from Tufts University for his “significant efforts to define Tufts as a multicultural environment in which race, ethnicity, religion, class, gender, and sexual preference are not barriers to the full enjoyment of community membership.”
Currently, Matthew serves as an intructor for the Students in Transition Seminar, an instructor for the SAS Honors Colloqium seminar, an academic mentor for the First Year Retention Program, advisor to the Criminal justice Organization, and he is also an LGBT Liaison for Rutgers University (part of the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities), and serves as a resource to any Rutgers student. [To check out an article about Matthew's role as a liaison, please take a look at the Center's monthly newsletter here on page 4.]